Best Engine Oil for a Harley Davidson

If you’re the proud owner of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, you know that it’s not just any bike. It requires special attention and care if you want it to run well and last for years. One of the most important things you can do to take care of your Harley is to use the best engine oil possible. In this article, we will discuss what type of engine oil Harley Davidson uses out of the production line, what type of motorcycle oil is best for a Harley Davidson Twin Cam engine, why you should go with synthetic motor oil, and which is the best engine oil to use for a Harley Davidson.

What Type of Engine Oil Does Harley Use?

While Harley has its own brand of motorcycle oil, the general consensus is this is not the best motorcycle oil for the job. In fact, the McNally Institute of mechanics puts AMSOIL’s full synthetic motorcycle oil 20W-50 ahead of Harley’s name-brand oil! But if you’re curious to know what kind of motorcycle your bike comes home with (and if you’re interested in keeping things purely Harley Davidson), they do make their own H-D 360 20W-50 motorcycle oil—though it is outperformed in testing by many other engine lubricant brands.

What Type of Motorcycle Oil for a Harley Davidson Twin Cam Engine?

Motorcycles run hotter and faster than your average car, and the Harley Davidson Twin Cam engine is no exception to this rule. As such, there are even more factors to consider when it comes to selecting a motor oil for your bike along with the usual questions you might ask yourself before purchasing a motor oil for your car.

Motorcycle oils have to work in more extreme conditions than a car’s motor in that everything is compressed and condensed to fit on the frame of the bike—from the sump to the cooling system (which is most usually passing air as the bike moves, except for with newer models of Harleys). Smaller sumps mean smaller pathways for the oil to travel through, plus the lubricant has to work for a motor that is faster and hotter than average. Couple this with your local climate conditions and how you intend to drive your bike and you can see how thinking you can simply substitute car motor oil for genuine motorcycle oil can lead to problems with your engine—including serious gear problems.

The motor on your Harley Davidson works hard to get you the power you crave on the road. This comes from a certain amount of friction—but not too much, or the engine will overheat, especially if it’s a hot day. This is why you need to take great care in how you lubricate your Harley’s motor, especially considering that one sump does all the lubricating for the whole bike, unlike an automobile, which has multiple sumps. (For more on the differences between car motor oil and motorcycle oil, check out our recent article on the topic!)

In short, unless you live in extreme weather conditions, the best bet for your Harley Davidson Twin Cam engine is a fully synthetic 20W-50 motorcycle oil. This weight and temperature range of oil protects the piston and other moving parts from friction, undue wear, oxidation, and unwanted deposits while protecting your bike’s motor and gearbox from overheating.

best motorcycle oil

Why You Should Go With a Synthetic Motorcycle Oil

Many people are unclear on the differences between conventional and synthetic oil. Fortunately, this can be rather simply summed up. Conventional motor oil (sometimes referred to as mineral oil) is a crude oil that is extracted from the ground and then refined. Synthetic motor oil takes refined conventional oil and further tinkers with it, adding a wide range of additives to boost lubricity, reduce oxidation, wear, and bubbles or gunk from forming, and agents which reduce friction and wear. (For a more complete list of additives often included in synthetic motor oils, click here!)

While there’s nothing wrong with conventional motor oil, especially if you are looking for a cheap solution for a motor you don’t intend to use very often, it’s hard for it to compete with synthetic motor oil, which has been engineered by experts to be superior in various conditions.

Synthetic motor oil not only keeps your engine cleaner, but it prevents premature wear of your engine and extends its lifespan, modifies your engine’s friction as needed (some engines need more, others need less), and even leads to better fuel economy.

Suffice it to say, synthetic motor oil is generally considered to be a superior product to conventional—and this is especially essential for taking good care of your Harley. Your bike’s motor works hard and under tougher conditions than a car. Why chance conventional oil on your motorcycle, which could lead to engine wear, gear failure, poor gas mileage, and more?

If you want some of the perks of a synthetic motorcycle oil without the price point of some of the more engineered versions, try a synthetic blend. This is simply a blend of conventional and synthetic oils, so you get some of the beneficial additives of synthetic with the lower price associated with conventional.

What's the Best Engine Oil for a Harley Davidson?

If you’re like most responsible Harley Davidson owners, you want to know how to get the most out of your engine’s performance while taking good care of your bike at the same time. So, what’s the best engine oil for a Harley Davidson?

Twin Cam or no, most experts agree the best engine oil for a Harley Davidson is a fully synthetic 20W-50 motorcycle oil from AMSOIL. AMSOIL’s full synthetic motorcycle oil 20W-50 is best for a wide range of climates, driving styles, and models of Harley and can add years to your bike every time you use it to change your oil.

Looking to pick up some of the best motorcycle oil money can buy? Browse Lube Oil Sales’ online catalogue of premium AMSOIL synthetic motor oils, including first-rate motorcycle oils so you know you’re giving your bike the absolute best!